Archive for January, 2010

There was rumor floating on the Internet that Windows Mobile 7 might be launched in the market sometime later this year, but Microsoft officials, as well as their partners don’t expect to see the new phone before 2011.

Representatives from Microsoft, as well as partners like HTC and NVIDIA, reportedly don’t expect to see the new phone OS until Mobile World Congress next year. Till now, it has not been disclosed that what the facts to delay the commonly accepted schedule are. The delay has also impacted on smartphone manufacturers who are now claimed to be switching handset production towards Android OS based phones while they wait for Microsoft.

This is not the first delay in the operating system’s history, so the rumor is at least plausible. Windows Mobile 7 was originally slated for debut in 2009, but various setbacks forced Microsoft to release version 6.5 instead.

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Apple has launched new application, which points to a new type of multitouch screen technology. This application explains a way of integrating a touch-sensitive panel into a display, rather than layering it on top, potentially allowing for thinner and less expensive touch screens.

This application is brought by a group led by Steve Hotelling, Senior Manager for touch hardware at Apple. In an interview to New York Times, an engineer, who worked in Hotelling’s group said, “Traditionally when you make a touch-screen display you place the touch-screen elements on top of an LCD screen. You would not have to buy an LCD and a touch panel for a new touch-screen device. Instead you just create one unit.”

The new application will also help in reducing costs significantly, but engineer said, “This is not something Apple could do alone. They would have worked with a major LCD partner to make this successful and cost-effective, or it becomes extremely expensive.”

According to the information available on his LinkedIn page, Hotelling leads a team of 25 engineers at Apple. His group is responsible for developing the multitouch technology in the current iPhone. His group also developed the famous circular click-wheel for iPods, and the world’s first multitouch mouse trackpad with a two-finger scroll.

Making passwords and other security systems things of past, now, a software has been developed that enables keyboard to identify the user and his state of mind by the speed and rhythm of his typing. The software, developed by Mike Dowman and colleagues at the University of Abertay in the UK, use 36 characters of login details in 42,840 attempts, reports New Scientist.

The software was able to detect 97.2 percent of the users correctly. It can also detect stress level of the user by his/her typing style. For example people press a key shorter on average but they hit it hard and for long when stressed. Dowman suggested the software could be used by retailers or banks to detect whether you are logging into your account under extreme stress or duress.

“There’s no question – people do type differently under stress,” Dowman said. He believed, “Security systems could be designed to raise the alarm if it seems that a person might be being forced to log into a system, whether a cash machine or online account, however more research will be needed before a system could tell if a person is, say, just having a bad day or being held at gunpoint”.

In the study, the team asked 35 people to log into a computer 36 times over three separate sessions up to a month apart, using the same user name and password. People were put into stressed and neutral states alternately by listening to a range of sounds known to elicit particular emotions and heard either gentle paper crumpling or arguing couples and emergency sirens.

The length of time each key was held down and the interval between one being released and another pressed was recorded to generate a typing ‘fingerprint’ for each person. Electrodes were attached to the typists’ hands to detect sweating a sign of stress also exploited by lie detectors.

Neil Barrett, a Computer Security Consultant and visiting professor at the Centre for Forensic Computing and Security at Cranfield University, UK, said the Abertay system’s success rate is similar to other biometric systems in use, such as voice prints or the fingerprint scanners built into laptops. With further improvements to typing-style recognition, passwords may no longer be needed for some systems, he said, adding “you can take the identification characteristics of the way they type in their user name.” The Abertay group have received patents on their ideas about detecting signs of a stressful environment in a person’s typing style.